Reply to the comment by harron on “widespread declines in woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) continue in Alberta”

D. Hervieux, M. Hebblewhite, N. J. Decesare, M. Russell, K. Smith, S. Robertson, S. Boutin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Estimation of demographic trends from vital rates provides a powerful means to estimate population trends in cryptic or difficult to study species such as woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou (Gmelin, 1788)). Using such methods, Hervieux et al. (2013; Can. J. Zool. 91(12): 872–882) recently showed 11 of 14 woodland caribou populations in Alberta were declining at ~8%/year following up to 18 years of monitoring. Harron (2015; Can. J. Zool. 93(2): 149–150) critiques our original study, claiming that negative biases in our demographic monitoring exaggerate our conclusions of widespread caribou declines. Here, we systematically review each of Harron’s claims of bias, rejecting each of his claims upon careful review of the mechanisms by which his purported claims would manifest in our population trend estimation. Therefore, we conclude that Harron’s scientific critique was superficial and misleading. Delays in conservation actions raised by Harron’s critique risk diminishing opportunities to conserve and recover this federally and provincially protected species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-150
    Number of pages2
    JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
    Volume93
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 18 2014

    Keywords

    • Boreal forest
    • Endangered species
    • Industrial development
    • Rangifer tarandus caribou
    • Species at Risk Act
    • Threatened species
    • Woodland caribou

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